Agency cracking down on Working Holiday Visa abusers

15 Aug 14

AUSTRALIA

IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? The Fair Work Ombudsman has begun reviewing industries suspected of exploiting the work provisions of the Working Holiday (subclass 417) Visa.

What does the change mean? Underpayment and nonpayment to 417 Visa holders could result in fines.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Working Holiday (subclass 417) Visas.
  • Who is affected: Employers hiring foreign workers on this visa, especially those applying for the second-year extensions of the visa.
  • Impact on processing times: None.
  • Business impact: Companies not complying with 417 Visa rules regarding fair compensation are at risk of being fined.

Background: The 417 Visa is for foreign nationals between the ages of 18 and 31 who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to two years. The initial visa is for one year and in order to qualify for the second year, the foreigner must work at least 88 days during their first year, performing specified work in certain designated areas and industries.

The Ombudsman has reported receiving complaints from one out of three 417 Visa holders. Of the 128 000 Working Holiday visas issued during the first half of the 2013-14 financial year, 20 per cent were for second-year visas – a large jump compared to the same period last year. More than 50 cases have been filed since 2009, and the largest penalty levied against a company has been $343 860.

BAL Analysis: The review signals greater scrutiny of companies employing 417 Visa holders and is a compliance reminder to employers.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@balglobal.com.

MARN: 9683856

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